Alums share how ministry to youth impacted them

| April 25, 2012 | 0 Comments

The Catholic Spirit asked several former NET members to share an experience from their ministry on a team and tell our readers how that impacted their ministry choices and their lives today.

Sister M. Consolata

Vocation director for the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, Alton, Ill.

Talk about one experience during your ministry with NET that led you toward your current ministry.

During training as a team supervisor, we took the teams to a Christian artist concert. The second half of it was during adoration. As I was kneeling there I heard these words from the song being sung:  “How many times have you doubted my word? How many times must I call your name? And as you say, yes, letting me love you, I will be strength for the journey.” There before the Lord in the Eucharist I thought, “You have called me my whole life. Why can’t I just say yes the first time?” So, I did. I said yes to the Lord.

How does your NET experience continue to guide you?

NET Ministries introduced me to eucharistic adoration. This transformed my life then and continues to sustain me now.

John Beaulieu

Director of Youth and Young Adult Outreach,  Franciscan University,  Steubenville, Ohio

Talk about one experience during your ministry with NET that led you toward your current ministry.

I was working with a small group of teen boys on an evening retreat. I asked them to describe their families and one after another described how over-involved and strict their parents were. They complained about having to check in while they were out and how their parents wanted to know every detail, like who they were going to be with, when they would be home, etc. Everyone chimed in with their complaints, except one, who just looked angry and kept rolling his eyes. I asked him why he seemed so upset and he blurted out, “All you guys are full of it. I could go out on a weekend and not come home for three days. I could pass out and die in a ditch and my parents would not notice or care for days. You don’t know how good you have it cuz you have parents who care about you. You should all shut up and be grateful that someone loves you!” It made me realize that I wanted to help teens know Christ’s love.

Father Michael Becker

Director of St. John Vianney College Seminary

Talk about one experience during your ministry with NET that led you toward your current ministry.

While serving in Cleveland, Ohio, I returned from an evening retreat to greet my host family — a 50-year-old mother, and her 25-year-old son. When I arrived about 9:30 p.m., I was greeted with joy and enthusiasm by the mother and son, who were up and anticipating our exchange. I was planning to go to bed shortly, as we needed to awake early the next morning. But the mother and son sat us down and proceeded to ask us questions about our Catholic faith, until 2 a.m. Their hunger and joy to know the truth was extraordinary. I almost felt like I was St. Philip who had been transported in Spirit to meet the Ethiopian eunuch, to whom he explained the Scriptures and proceeded to baptize. I, too, experi­enced such tremendous interior joy that I was counted worthy to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with these two. That is a joy that I experience in my priesthood every time I am able to lead a soul to Christ through preaching, teaching, discipling and the sacraments.

Father Thomas Margevicius

Professor at The St. Paul Seminary

Talk about one experience during your ministry with NET that led you toward your current ministry.

On NET, I was the leader of music, not only entertaining students during large group sessions, but also accompanying Mass and team prayer. Often the retreatants did not want to sing or participate robustly at Mass and I had to choose how I would respond: would I become upset, scold them or worse, surrender to their impiety and cease praying myself? Or would I continue to sing and play well regardless of whether the retreatants were praying along? On NET, I had to learn the latter.

Likewise, a priest has to do more than just shallowly follow the liturgical books (merely “say the black, do the red”). Rather, he himself must pray the liturgy, whether or not the faithful are praying the way he wishes they would. In fact, the more prayerful the priest is himself, the more likely the faithful will follow his model and pray along. They will not need to be “guilted” into participating by some disgruntled priest.

Joseph Vogel

Executive director for NET Canada

Talk about one experience during your ministry with NET that led you toward your current ministry.

I remember sitting in a circle with a grade ten young man who struggled to share about his difficulties with his father’s anger in a church basement. I simply prayed for him as he so vulnerably struggled to find the words to express his feelings to the other four young men in the group. . . . When I asked this young man what he wanted prayers for, he responded, “For my dad. You see, I love him, but he doesn’t know how he can hurt us. But I forgive him and I want to pray for him. Secondly, I want to pray that I can love like Jesus does.”

This was a huge moment for this young man — and this was a huge moment for me. I realized, “That your faith might not stand on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” 1 Corinthians 2:5.

It was nothing that I really said, but it was that God used me as his vessel to reach a youth. It was all his grace.

Tammy Jo Evevard

Author of “Becoming”

Talk about one experience during your ministry with NET that led you toward your current ministry.

Working with the young girls in my small groups all over the country showed me one thing — girls do not see themselves as their great God sees them. They constantly compare themselves to others and are constantly finding themselves lacking. I have spent all my years since NET speaking to women, mentoring women, challenging women to see themselves as enough, made in God’s image and likeness and that, as he tells us in Genesis, we are “good.” I’ve even recently written a book for women called “Becoming (the woman God made you to be).”

How does your NET Ministries experience continue to guide you?

NET was the place that I really dug into my Catholic faith. I had grown up in a very ecumenical environment and didn’t know a lot about my faith. I had never said a rosary. I had never gone to daily Mass. NET was the experience that pushed me toward learning about the traditions of our church.

View our NET Ministries Special Section for more stories!

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